Coté Memo #078: Spiceworld 2015, Spiceworks Momentum, Enterprise Use, and DevOps

Tech & Work World

I was at Spiceworld, briefly, last week. This is Spiceworks’ big user, annual conference in Austin; they have one in London as well. I’ve followed Spiceworks for many years (from RedMonk to 451 Research) and have always liked their IT management approach: their business model is to be the Facebook of IT by giving away the systems management software for free and then selling access to the users to advertisers, vendors, and others. They also have a data practice which has some interesting, deep pools of data.

Last week they announced several new services and features, and also made some exiting ones free. They have a hosted (cloud!) offering that I’d missed seeing; that’s one of the things they made free (down from $10/month). As ever, I think their ambition is to monitor and manage as much IT as their user base wants. They don’t always provide the deepest functionality (saving that for their “real” customers who can sell more sophisticated tools into the user base), but they balance the “you get what you pay for” product management track well as their user momentum shows:

Spiceworks momentum, as of 2015//

The numbers from there are not entirely consistent as they’re a mix of “users,” “monthly unique page views,” and whatever Spiceworks told me in briefings. That is, the thing counted has likely changed over time. I feel like getting a million “users” over a year is high (from 5m to 6m), but, whatever: just check out the general shape of the thing and you realize there’s something going on there.

Some other momentum figures:

  • One good, recent figure is “2,000 new members a day.”
  • Another one from Sep, 2014: Spiceworks being used by 1.8m organizations.
  • Spiceworks currently has “over 400” employees, up from 225 in Nov 2013.

One theme this year was the expansion, up-market into “enterprise.” If I recall, Spiceworks considers “enterprise” to be 500+ employees, and the rest is “SMB.” For them, that’s fair, but be warned if you think of enterprise as something more like 10,000+ employees.

Over time, the share between “small” and enterprise has been growing:

  • 2009: 13% enterprise, 87% small (from my notes)
  • 201?: 20% enterprise, 80% small (“previous to 2015”)
  • 2015: 40% enterprise, 60% small (from SpiceWorld 2015)

This year, they reported 71% penetration into F500 accounts.

The phrase “DevOps” was flashed up on the screen a few times and mentioned in meetings. In general, I see “DevOps” as only being applicable to organizations who are working on and deploying custom written software, their own software. (Sure, you could adopt the same principals for packaged software, SaaS, etc….but would you?). As it expands more, Spiceworks could concern itself with managing custom written software – somehow – which would be interesting and consistent with their general strategy of grabbing as much IT department land as possible.

Quick Hits




Google Chromebooks at work in the fragmented PC era (451 Report)

We teamed up with Spiceworks recently to write a report checking in on Google Chromebooks, mostly around their market-share and usage. It was a nice experiment to see how our two pool of data and analysis could be meshed together to investigate how IT is operating in the wild.

Spiceworks looked at 71,159 companies worldwide to see what OSes were on their desktops, which gave us some good input on Chromebook usage. Our own ChangeWave surveys have been tracking consumer and corporate buying intentions around Chromebooks (and other end-user device, “PC”, OS selection as well) for sometime, giving us a good mix of data to figure out how Chromebooks are doing.

Here’s the 451 Take:

When we look at the available data and the value proposition for Chromebooks, it doesn’t seem half bad, and, perhaps, not as far-fetched as a browser-only PC seemed when Google announced Chromebooks in 2011. As on-premises applications continue their slow migration to the cloud, and users continue to glom onto non-Windows platforms like iOS and Android, the end-user device landscape is increasingly fragmenting. Although Chromebooks’ market share is likely less than 5% (if not 3%), the broad, big-name-filled Chromebook ecosystem is nothing to sneeze at, and end users are more open than ever to new PC paradigms. Additionally, there’s an intriguing intersection of interest between Chromebooks and desktop as a service when it comes to supporting corporate Windows applications on new PC platforms. We’ll continue watching Chromebooks carefully, as well as the other end-user device platforms that are finding purchase in the fragmented PC era we’re hurtling toward.

Unlike most reports I post here, this one is free for non-clients, so you can read the full report if you’re one of the unlucky ones who’s not a regular 451 readers.

Google Chromebooks at work in the fragmented PC era (451 Report)

Still-free Spiceworks version 7 refreshes helpdesk, MDM, cloud management

From @joshmaz

I was at Spiceworld this week. The company released version 7, which is piled high with features. Long time readers will know that I’ve always liked Spiceworks and talked with for many years. There’s always something interesting going on over there.

Here’s an excerpt from my write-up on them and Spiceworks 7:

 [T]he company has cultivated a good relationship with its real customers, other tech vendors that would like to sell to the 2.7 million IT pros that use Spiceworks monthly. Spiceworks often says it’s the bare minimum needed for any IT problem, leaving plenty of head room for other IT management vendors to sell into. Clearly the company has to stop itself from commoditizing (as in ‘free’) too much of its real customers’ business, and balancing ‘good enough’ with ‘click here to pay for more’ is always a challenge. Still, there’s not much to argue with when it comes to a free product, and the community seems happy.

451 clients can check out the full report here.

(Photo from @joshmaz.)

Still-free Spiceworks version 7 refreshes helpdesk, MDM, cloud management

Two very different estimates of cloud email usage and forecasts

A while back I posted a quick quote from recent Gartner prognosticating about cloud email. The up-shot was that right now, it’s just about 8% for all types of companies, globally (except India and China for some reason). Someone from SpiceWorks left a comment that arecent survey of theirs indicated something much different, at least across the more SMB focused demographics they asked (out of 539 respondents, 46% were in companies of 10-99 employees, 23% were from companies of 100-249). Gartner, no doubt, covers a broader market, perhaps even weighted to larger companies (I don’t have access to the report, so I can’t look up the demographics).

For your entertainment, here are the two charts:

Email Moving to Cloud Estimates

Email Moving to Cloud Estimates

(The SpiceWorks 2014 estimate is a bit of fuzz-work on my part based on people’s claims to migrate in six months. If that bothers you, just assume it’s flat and the fun still stands.)

Spiceworks Segmentation Stats

three years ago 65-70 percent of Spiceworks users were from companies that had fewer than 100 employees. In the last 24 months, however, that has completely turned on its head, and now 75 percent of usage comes from companies with 100 employees or more. Specifically the two fastest growing segments are companies with 500-1,000 employees and companies with 1,000 employees and above. As of last month there were 13,000 installations with more than 1,000 devices, implying that 60-65 percent of enterprises in the world use Spiceworks for something. 

via Spiceworks CEO sets sights on the enterprise – Interview –